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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

3,836 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,836
Reviews: 1,129
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.7%
Wants: 152
Gots: 750 | FT: 48
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  9.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-31-2005

Old ale brewed with molasses and oak-aged.

50 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,836 | Reviews: 1,129 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of xnicknj
3.87/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap at RnH in nyc. served in a tulip glass.

Pours a syrupy clouded burnt orange color with darker brown hues. A thinner white head fades quickly, leaving a faint layer of film and hardly any lacing.

Plenty of burnt sugar in the nose with caramel, thick breadyness, and molasses. Softer fruit flavors and lighter hop bitterness with an alcohol flair.

Begins with a bite of hop bitterness, quickly followed by layers of syrupy sweetness. Burnt sugar, caramel, and molasses all swirl together for a fairly rich, sweet base. Thick malts with boozy warmth. Another note of pine hoppiness towards the finish with some more heat.

Full bodied, lighter carbonation, sticky and syrupy on the tongue. Drinks pretty well, although its definitely a bit on the warm and sweet side of things.

Photo of EricCioe
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one year old bottle pours deep, deep copper, and even an aggressive pour yields no head and no lace. It's hazy with some particles just hanging out, not moving at all. On the nose there are vanilla, sweet bready malts, prunes, and some slight booze. Nice to see a big barleywine-type beer in America made that doesn't taste like a cousin of a DIPA. In the mouth, a huge body carries down a slightly prickly breadiness with some vanilla and oak notes. The finish is quite long, mostly alcohol and sweet bread up on the front of the tongue. This is a nightcap for me, but for that purpose it's quite good.

Photo of nsabo
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I first tried this beer at 6 months and the oak was belligerently obvious and far too sweet. Now at 9 months, it is quite yummy, though I can't help but wish I'd squirreled it away a bit longer. Brandy, dry oats, caramel, a tiny bit of anise. I'd like the malts to stand out a bit more, right now I'm getting that oaked-vanilla taste lingering in my mouth and the malts in the background, whereas I want them in opposite roles with the malts nestled snug above the oak... a short time did wonders for the beer, with patience this could be an excellent old ale.

Photo of mavbrew
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very little head despite a strong pour. Has a hazy copper color and a small, cream colored head.

S: The smell of bourbon barrels is apparent as soon as I pour this beer. Also has a sweet malty scent to it with a bit of alcohol as well.

T: The taste is sweet, caramel malts and a bit of honey are the main flavors up front. The oak barrels come through as well with some alcohol bursting through in the finish.

M: Full bodied with light carbonation. Very boozy mouthfeel.

D: Another quality brew from Founders. It's hard to find anything that I don't like from them. The oak barrels are a nice touch giving this beer some nice flavor. Aging the remaining 3, we will see how they turn out.

Photo of daledeee
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The name is enough to interest me.

Poured a very cloudy orange brown with a white head and not much lace.

Nose had some malt but too boozy.

Taste is pretty hoppy with malt, sweetness and some citrus. The finish is quite creamy and the most interesting facet of this beer. High alcohol but easy to drink.

Photo of Spider889
3.81/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to msulinski for this bottle. Not sure why I've never seen this in OH (sent to me from PA, and I saw it while in Chicago last month).

Live review.

First thing I noticed was that the cap pried off too easily. Wait, is that glue gunk around the lip of the bottle? No... huh? Screw-off... seriously? Is this old, or old habit for this beer? A Founders first for me, at least.

My second notion is that there's very little carbonation going on here. With a tall pour it get a slow-to-rise head of cream colored bubbles that dissipate much more quickly than they appeared. The beer itself is a hazy copper color in my snifter. Looks like this one will be leaving some splotchy residuals but no real lace to speak of...

The third and most prominent thing I noticed (upon pouring) was the smell - thick and sweet bourbon. Ahh, Founders, your barrel-aging program is predictably recognizable, and yet about as good as it possibly gets. I am immediately reminded of Backwoods Bastard. Vanilla, lots of oak, sweet but not alcoholic bourbon notes are most predominant. The malt is also very apparent - more so than in Backwoods Bastard (which I cannot help but continually compare each aspect of this beer to now). Light chocolate and maple waft in and out along with sweet pipe smoke.

The flavor is also similar to Backwoods, but not entirely the same. Curmudgeon is frankly not as potent, and therefor, not as inviting for me. Still, plenty of flavor going on here. The bourbon is the front-runner - as in Backwoods, Curmudgeon has a flavor profile built around the barrel aging rather than the reverse. Sweet toffee and vanilla play with boozy bourbon. This is also much more bitter than I would have expected. Very smooth, but with a bite on the swallow.

The mouthfeel is smooth - too smooth. This beer borders on flat, which takes an appropriately low carbonation level for this style too far imo. Very dry as well.

I like this, but then, it's hard not to enjoy anything Founders puts into their barrels. But as stated numerous times in this review, Curmudgeon is very similar to Backwoods Bastard. So much so, that I would be happy to take a Backwoods over this any and every time. Good beer, but not great. But hey, Founders has that covered. ;-)

Photo of EgadBananas
4.14/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark honey colored, light beige head that dissipates quickly into a film and leaves a few bubbles along the way.

Malty, sweet, citrus, juicy fruit, hint of booze.

Malty, nutty, sweet, but not too sweet, juicy sweet citrus fruits, hint of bitterness and booze.

Creamy, pretty clean, rich, full bodied. Carbonation is good and on the very low end.

Well balanced, nice Old Ale and exceptionally drinkable in my opinion.

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.69/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Why, oh, why has it taken me so long to grab one of these? Heaven knows I've been eying it up long time, coveting it. (sigh) I gotta get a 4-pack of this ole shit.

Pale tawny hue, rich glow, with plenty specks of sediment. That's fine. 1/8" head - gone quick.

Damn wonderful aroma - toffee, caramel, and toasty crystal malt - rich, dense maltiness - with a sweet liqueur booziness pushing it all up into my noseholes, lathering my brain.

Sometimes old ales do, but this doesn't immediately recall a barleywine. Strong British pale all the way. Toffee, booze, sweet dessert wine (not vinous/red/port) highlight the flavors. Assertively malt forward, which is great. And this is the kind of barrel-conditioning I can get behind - the faint essence of oak lingers throughout. Bourbon, be gone!

I don't taste the molasses they mention having included, but it could have certainly contributed to the mouthfeel. Speaking of which, while sporting a micro drop of dry, musty oxidation, is nearly silky smooth, falling quite short of syrupy. Goddamn does it massage the palate while conjuring one of the most soothing warming feelings I've been treated to. The booze is softened expertly by the malt and semi-viscous body. They balanced the shit out of this ale. A winner!

Photo of ChugginOil
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one pours a dark honey-brown color with a fingers worth of off white colored head. Leaves walls of lacing as the head dissipates. The nose brings notes of bready, dark, caramel and sweet malts with the high ABV well masked. The taste follows the nose quite closely here. Sweet caramel, roasted toffee, bready malts. 0 hop characteristics. No bitterness. The mouthfeel is creamy and fulfilling as it coats the palate.

Bottom Line: This brew is very well balanced and offers some great sweet tastes that aren't seen in many other brews. The intensity and richness make this one a sipper but with the superbly masked ABV, this can be hard to do. I do wish it was cheaper but you get what you pay for 10 fold here with Curmedgeon.

Photo of harrymel
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured to NB globe.
Bottled: 02/04/10

A: Pours a firey orange. No head until I agitate, then a thin sheet of off white foam. Pretty beer.

S: One of the oakiest beers I've ever smelled. Smells like the barrels didn't even have anything more than light toast. Woody.

T: Bitter, caramel, oak, wood. Very, very woody. Wow, dunno if I'm gonna be able to finish this one. Not because it's bad, it's just so strong.

M: Medium body, low carb. nearly flat.

D: It's a bigger beer than I had anticipated. However, I think with an additional year under the belt, this beer would even out nicely.

Photo of warnerry
3.79/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Mostly translucent amber color with a lot suspended debris, almost feels like being in chemistry class and accidentally precipitating something out of a titration with one too many drops of acid.

S - Tons of sweet caramel malt and an aroma like iced tea coming through.

T - Again the sweet caramel malts dominate,though alcohol is also very prevalent. Getting some hints of fruit (cherries?), vanilla, and some nice hops on the finish.

M - Pretty moderate mouthfeel for an old ale; alcohol is a bit too prominent for my liking.

D - Decent drinkability for almost 10% abv, but due to the flavor profile I wouldn't want more than one in a sitting.

Photo of hwy61mb
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this brew from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter. The reddish-brown color with a touch of sediment reminded me of the way apple cider would look in a snifter. There is very little head, with a little bit of lacing upon taking a few sips. It definitely smells sweet. A little bit like caramel. The taste is also sweet. Starts off a little bit sweet and I think I taste some hoppiness at the end, but it really isn't bitter at all, the aftertaste is still bit sweet. This is a thick, syrupy, sticky beer with a high alcohol content and I wouldn't want more than one in a sitting, but this is what I have come to expect from the style and I think it's delicious.

Photo of Snow81
4.57/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark amber, orange, unfiltered

Smell: a bit sweet malty, carmal, heat, hoppyness

Head: after first poor, head goes down to only a little ring around the glass

Taste: get a bit of heat right of the bat, hops hit right after that and moves into carmalness, stickyness then some more heat then all over and sticking around with hops

Weight: a bit on the lighter side but it is a old ale not a barleywine

Finish: this one lingers for quite some time with hops, and carmal sickyness

Photo of Daniellobo
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice and tasty take on an old ale.

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle. Label with a illustration of an old man in a baroque? garment holding some notes as he leans on a chair. Shows bottling date (03/10/10), IBUs (50), and Alc. by Vol. (9.8%). Served in a snifter.

A - Lightly hazy medium to deep amber pour with a 1/3" bubbly and creamy cap with low retention, fair surface memory dash and ring, and minimal lacing.

S - Caramel, malt, nice boozy fruity sense, not too complex but rather pleasing.

T - Nice long compact flavor, malty with plenty of caramel coating the fresh fruity sense. Roasted dash, with a long sugary sense, touch of spice, and alcohol laden fruity sense, cherry and orange.

M - Medium to medium/full body maybe more held by the emerging and warming booze in the finish, small but constant carbonation with a nice tingle, slight please stickiness as it closes.

D - Hmmm, this is surprisingly flowing easy. It might be my moment, but for something planned as a sipper this went all too quickly.

Notes: Nice brew, add the barrel aging and do we have the Backwoods Bastard? Not quite but there is something rather pleasing that reminds of that brew, and that stands very well on its own.

Photo of chainsfan1
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice copper/amber color with minimal white head.

Sweet malt smell with a hint of alcohol.

Small oak flavor that slowly turns into nice smooth malty goodness with a small burn that passes quickly.

Carbonated front with a silky smooth end.

I would recommend this beer as a great night cap eather after a long hard day of working outside in the elements or just to relax this is the beer to choose.

Photo of phiberoptik
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy copper/amber with a creamy head. Pours almost flat until the very end.

I do not get a lot of notes from the smell of this beer.Other than some yeasty aromas and I keep thinking maraschino cherries, caramel, etc.

It tastes heavy on alcohol up front of course and a bit metallic. I get some yeast and malts and a hint of piney hops.

Mouthfeel is ok as it fizzes on the tongue a bit. Slightly resiny.

Its a fairly drinkable beer. A bit big on alcohol but it gets much smoother with every sip Definitely nice with it being 20 degrees out.

Cheers!

Photo of IronCitySteve
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy orange amber color with a small off white foam head. There is some spotty lacing.

S: Lots of sweet malts, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, alcohol and oak. Really becomes more apparent as it warms up a bit.

T: Not as sweet as I expected, no complaints about that. A nice blend of malty sweetness and the oak. The oak rounds off the sweetness which makes this quite enjoyable.

M: Slick and creamy. Nice medium body.

D: A higher ABV makes this a sipper by the fire. A very well put together Old Ale.

Photo of TCHopCraver
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes written on 1-6-11.

Into a snifter gifted to me by my lovely girlfriend, Curmudgeon pours a cloudy, amber-orange with a medium khaki, one-finger head which retains nicely. I could have decanted this a bit better, as many little yeasties are floating about in the beer. The carbonation appears low and slow and the lacing is attractive, with hilltops and dots.

The smell is very malt-forward with aromas of caramel, brown sugar, and cinnamon, which all meld together well. When swirled aggressively, the woodnotes of the oak aging are very evident, along with a slightly peppery aroma. The more I inhale, the bigger the cinnamon contribution is. Founders website says that this is brewed with molasses- I can smell a little of that, as well.

The taste is somewhat spicier and woodier than I thought it would be, with a very earthy undertone on my tongue. Those flavors couple with a heavy malt presence of caramel and brown sugar, with some cinnamon spice taste in addition. The molasses adds a molasses cookie taste. The finish is nicely dry from the oak and bittering hops and just a little alcoholic heat soaks into my tongue at the end of the sip.

The mouthfeel is silky, creamy, and buttery on the tongue, but with a fine balancing nip on the sides from the oak- aging, hops, and alcohol. The finish is fairly clean for such a syrupy beast. I think the mouthfeel is the highlight of the beer.

I like this crotchety old fella and will have it again, but I've also had other Old Ales that I like a bit better. It is definitely not sessionable, but makes for a good sipper. This is another fine offering from Founders, but certainly not their best.

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.19/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a taster glass at the Haymarket Founders event.

Appearance: A dark cherry color, existing between hazy and transparent. An off-white head fades to a ring but leaves layers of lace.

Smell: Brandy and ethyl alcohol kick, with an earthy covering to the sweet dark fruit and malt aromas.

Taste: Sweet brandy, caramel malt, and some dark fruits. Figs, raisins, and plums. Sweet all the way through. Some light earthy flavors slowly coat the tongue, adding some depth and complexity. This definitely gets better as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, brandy-like, with light to medium carbonation. Sticky, with a fuller than medium body.

Drinkability: A fun and complex beer. Sweet, with lots of bite, so I am not sure I could drink this all night.

Photo of jrallen34
3.05/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Haymarket into a 4oz tasting glass...Pours a deep amber with orange notes, a decent tope head, looks good...The aroma is pretty good very sweet with lots of caramel, honey, spice and a little oak. Good start...The taste just doesn't translate, this is borderline horrible. Almost all bitter alcohol from start to finish, oak, and honey try to help out but they can't do enough. I had a hard time finishing this. I just can't believe how bad this is.

Avoid for me.

Photo of Tone
3.72/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, amber color. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. There is also suspended sediment. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of yeast, strong alcohol, slight oak, and slight citrus hops. Fits the style of an Old Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong alcohol, oak, slight citrus hops, slight yeast, and hint of sweet malt. Overall, overly strong in the alcohol, not very complex, but definitely warming.

Photo of Pellinore1
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep, cloudy amber, producing minimal head, which quickly fades to some light lacing.

The aroma is all malt, and makes me think of bread, fruit, and honey.

I taste all of the sweet malt foretold by the smell. Fruit, caramel, and biscuits are all here, followed by just a touch of alcohol warmth.

This beer is thick and smooth, with a bit of carbonation to lighten things up. Reasonably drinkable, considering the ABV, but I wouldn't want to have too many.

Photo of BeerLover99
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - carmel, amber, no head, unfiltered, fine lacing.

S - fig, plum, oak, spices, malt, honey.

T - sweet fruit, honey, molasses, bread, with oak/smoky and mild bitter + tart finish.

M - medium/heavy body, velvet smooth, light carbonation to hold

D - Big sipper and mighty fine brew. This gets better as is reaches closer to room temperature. I will hoard the 4 pack I bought for special occasions over the next year and share with worthy beer geeks. This beer once again proves to me why I love Founders, just damn fine complex and delicious beer.

Photo of Phinner
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very unique flavor is imparted by the oak barrel aging. Not quite sure about it at first, but it rewards the drinker with subtle flavors when given the chance to present itself on a clean palate. I could see how this may turn-off some, but I would not hesitate to consume it as a night cap.

Photo of Tucquan
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had this on 2010-06-10 in Lynchburg, VA (from tasting notes) had this again on 2015-02-24 on tap at Brass Rail in Campbelltown, PA.

A - Hazy caramel color with almost no head

S - Mild fig, plum and alcohol

T - Dark roasted grain, sour, light candy sugar, light grapefruit, no pine, alcohol. Nice taste.

M - Light body and carbonation

O - A good sipper. Very enjoyable.

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,836 ratings.